Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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New Adventurer is Traveling Light

 

 


She was stunned. She was just putting the finishing touches on a redecorating project. Window sheers had been ordered but hadn't been installed. And now she was packing up and moving.

Only a few weeks ago, someone had lobbed an unsolicited offer to buy her home for a price she couldn't resist. The house had been a sanctuary after a hard divorce. She loved the long gated driveway and the peaceful gardens. Her three girls had lived like princesses there, riding a social merry-go-round through childhood and adolescence.

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The girls left for college. Now, the brick mansion seemed to echo with loneliness. Selling hadn't been on her to-do list this spring, but the unexpected offer held out the happy promise of a new adventure.  

So she called Furniture Consignment Gallery. 

Mitchell Gold had just delivered a living room set. She admitted I was the first to ever sit on the sofa. That, too, went into our truck.Within days, we were at the house filling our truck with treasures including an EJ Victor china cabinet and an extraordinary console table by Dessin Fournir.

I asked where was she going. She said she had a temporary apartment, but no firm plans. "Where do you think I would like to live?" she asked. Our moving guys started tossing out ideas: Hingham, Duxbury, Marblehead, Manchester-by-the-Sea.

"When you guys are finished," she mused, "I think I'll go for a drive." She's traveling light. No baggage. That's the best way to start an adventure.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Designer Wasteland: It's Not All Wasted

 

 

"Oh, no!"img 8319 One of our best customers, an interior designer, was in mid-conversation with a staffer when she caught sight of a new sectional across the showroom. "Impossible!" she exclaimed, striding over to examine the piece. "I simply don't believe it."   

 

Turns out, she had a history with this particular piece of furniture. Six months ago, she had been working for a couple that had been - hmmm, how to put this nicely? - very challenging clients. They bickered so much during the design process that she felt like more of a referee than a designer.

 

What really broke her spirit, she confessed, was selecting their sectional. Last winter, the trio trekked through the snow to all the furniture showrooms in and around Boston. Every couch she suggested they dismissed as too soft, too firm, too stiff, or too sloppy.

 

Eventually, they agreed on a style. That's when picking the fabric became the new nightmare. They spent endless hours poring over swatches. Finally, the couple settled on a custom tight-back sectional with a chaise and the designer placed the order.  

 

Sixteen weeks later, and a dozen or more anxious client phone calls to the designer, the sectional was delivered. The couple had a rare moment of miserable agreement - they just didn't like it. Without telling their designer, they shipped it off quietly to FCG.

 

So here it was sitting in our showroom. The sectional was spotless, stylish, and well crafted with vivid colors.  Its price tag was a fraction of what the couple had paid only a few weeks earlier. The designer ran her hand over the fabric. "What a waste," she said sadly.  

 

Shortly after she left, a family of six wandered in. Catching sight of the sectional, the teens raced across the showroom and leaped on it joyfully. "Can we get it?" they begged their parents. "It's awesome!"

 

I wish the dejected designer had stayed long enough to see how much this family loved the sectional. All her work and talent were finally being appreciated. I thought it was proof of the old adage: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Happy people can find it pretty much anywhere.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

My Vote Goes to Concord

 

 

concord by barberEleanor Roosevelt once declared Main Street in Hingham to be the loveliest street in America. Now, I don't want to detonate a firestorm of civic pride here. Wellesley, Weston, Salem and Gloucester, I'll concede you've got your charms. But I beg to disagree with the First Lady. My vote goes to Concord.

 

Rich in political and literary history, Concord is a quintessential New England village, serene and timeless. Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women" here. Thoreau fled to its woods to chop wood and pen his famous epistle, "Walden." The town is graced with proud homes, elegant gardens, lush lawns, simple churches, cozy taverns and dark ponds.  

 

That is why I was so excited last week visiting a beautiful historic home in the center of town. Built in1884, this three-story 7,000-square-foot brick home has four chimneys and a barn out back. Originally built as a summer home for his family by a wealthy merchant in Boston, the house has been lovingly preserved and renovated many times in the last century. Its current owner is selling the house - and has offered its furniture to FCG. 

 

Our moving crew worked tirelessly, filling our truck with custom furniture designed just for this extraordinary home. The list of items is long: gold damask sofas by Baker, occasional chairs by Lillian August, a pristine mahogany dining set by Kindle, a drop-leaf table in gleaming bird's eye maple, leather chairs and sofas.

 

Concord's favorite son Thoreau urged us to seize the day, breathe the spring air, taste the new fruit - and, he would have added, appreciate the workmanship of our nation's top craftsmen. Our Hanover store is chockfull of amazing furniture pieces from this grand home. Come in and take a look. I promise you'll be as thrilled as I am.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Party for The Ages

 

 

48d0abb0dcdfd512c105c36e0cf67cae"Hey, Jay!" one of the other dads hollered at me from the other side of the ballpark as our sons were finishing up soccer practice. "Looking forward to the party!" I nodded, grinned and waved back at the guy trying not to look totally confused. "Party?" I thought. "What party?"   

 

Ten minutes later, I found out. Parked in my driveway was a truck. Two men were hauling a massive inflatable bouncing house into my backyard. Yes, we apparently were having a party. Robbie, our youngest, was turning seven. His buddies were coming to our house to celebrate. All of them.

 

Inviting 20 seven-year-old boys to a backyard birthday party is sheer lunacy. There are no carrot sticks on the menu, just pure sugar bombs. Add an arsenal of plastic weaponry and you've got an incendiary mix. You'd have less damage from a horde of Mongols.

 

Other parents - that is, the ones who value their homes - outsource these kinds of events. They rent an indestructible party palace for the afternoon. That's so the joint can be hosed down and, if necessary, rebuilt after the party. 

 

Whose idea was this wingding anyway? Diana, my wife, looked remarkably cheerful for someone about to be overrun by munchkins with inflatable pickaxes. "Jay," she insisted. "It'll be fun!"  

 

What actually happened was two hours of utter mayhem.  Like an invading force of troop carriers, SUVs pulled up in front of our house at precisely 4 p.m. Out spilled an army of howling kids. The party instantly devolved into a battle scene. Their parents stood at the perimeter - wine and beer in hand - watching in shock.

 

Robbie's older brother, Cade, had been enlisted as a kind of bouncer to keep the peace. At 15, he is six feet tall and 190 pounds, but he was no match for a swarm of seven-year-olds. They attacked and beat him into submission with their axes. I could hear muffled cries for help, but I wasn't about to risk the fury of the mob.

 

Considering the battlefield wounds, we probably should have had a MASH Unit. One boy ran up to his mom with blood running down his lip. "Mom," he said breathlessly. "Can you hold my tooth?" He dropped the tiny pearl into her hand and raced back into action.

  

When the party was over, I surveyed the yard and tallied the damage. They came, they ate, they conquered. One tooth was extracted. A lawn chair had been twisted into a pretzel. The flowerbeds were shredded. No casualties. All in all, according to Robbie, it was a pretty good party. Would have been better if Cade had suffered a little more, but overall -- pretty good.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Bargain Driver Puts Us to The Test

 

 

fist full of money clip art 22967Over the course of the week, she just about drove me crazy. She'd found an inlaid mahogany game table in our Hanover store that she thought would be perfect for her condo in Back Bay. The table was exquisite - and a bargain. Still, she wanted to haggle.

 

"Call the consignor!" she insisted after I demurred on a discount. "Ask them to drop the price by $30." Her offer was rejected. Undeterred, she pressed for $20 off - rejected again - then $10. In the middle of the negotiating ping-pong, I found myself wondering: is she seriously going to ask for a discount of $1?   

 

Finally, with a sigh, she agreed to the price. Then, she got a second wind. She'd observed a tiny scratch no bigger than a hair on one leg. Could we touch it up? And then buff the piece with furniture polish? Swaddle it carefully in bubble wrap? And have it ready for pick up in an hour?

 

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we pride ourselves on extraordinary furniture, unbeatable prices and excellent customers service. Every now and then, someone comes along and puts us to the test. That's what happened last week. And I'm pleased to say we passed with flying colors.

 

Precisely an hour after her call, a car peeled into the parking lot. Out leaped the woman's husband, looking a little sheepish. As one of our staffers carried the table carefully to the car, he approached me cautiously. "How bad did she beat you up on the price?" he asked.      

 

I burst out laughing. "We couldn't do anything on the price," I admitted, "but we jumped through a dozen hoops to get it ready for you this afternoon." 

 

"She drives a hard bargain," he admitted. More like a blood sport, I thought. "But," he added in a confidential tone, "she really, really loves your store. Thanks for making her happy. We'll be back for more - you can count on it." 

 

Keeping even the toughest customers satisfied - and coming back again and again - is our goal at FCG. So stop by one of our three stores this weekend. Our furniture makes shopping here worth your while. Our dedicated staffers make it a great experience.
Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Spring Sales Have Sellers Moving Fast

 

 

husbandsShe exhaled a string of expletives into the phone. Thankfully, I wasn't the target. The culprit was her husband. With only one week to go before the family was moving into a grand new house, he'd called and scheduled my guys to strip the house of every stick of furniture.  

 

His plan was to sell just about everything at FCG, and redecorate in a style that trumpeted his recent success in the corporate world. He demanded we strip the place of furniture ASAP. The closing on the new house was in one week. His plan was timely, organized and efficient.

 

Trouble is, his plan lacked support on the domestic front.  His wife had a different plan. Hers was to fret, fume and procrastinate. She liked their old house, the old neighborhood - and the furniture. "Absolutely not," she said when I called to say our truck would be pulling into the driveway in an hour.

 

She hadn't packed a single box. Every dresser in the house was stuffed with clothing, she said. The wedding china was still on display in the cabinet in the dining room. Empty the house of furniture? "I'm just not ready!" she exclaimed. "Can't we reschedule?"

 

We were caught between husband and wife. And let me tell you, that is not a pleasant place to be. Especially when you're dealing with a high-testosterone husband and a wife skilled in guerrilla warfare.

 

Spring's busy moving season can be challenging - for our customers and for FCG. Our homes and furniture are loaded with meaning and memories.  Add an ounce of conflict to the stress of a move and the entire situation becomes highly combustible.   

 

At FCG, we try to be sensitive. We scrutinized our jam-packed schedule and managed to give the woman a few more days to pack. When we arrived, we moved quickly and quietly. We took it all, leaving only the mattresses on the floor. Our last item: the expensive leather chair from his home office. When we left, the two were in a state of shock.

 

After a few years of a listless real estate market, deals are moving faster than sellers can think. If you are ready to sell, consult with FCG as soon as you list your home. You may need us sooner than you think.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Kentucky Derby- Appreciating Martha On Race Day

 

 

muybridgeHarrodsburg, Kentucky is a sleepy town of about 9,000, except for certain times of year when the place is seized with a peculiar sports mania. That would be the winter college basketball season and the eve of the Kentucky Derby.

 

Some of the best gossip in town could be gotten at the Davis Beauty Shop. Martha Davis, the owner, was married to the basketball coach of Harrodsburg High School in Mercer County. He had a hotline to Coach Adolf Rupp of the University of Kentucky, one of the most successful coaches in the history of American college basketball.

 

So the women of the bluegrass would make their weekly pilgrimages to see Martha - with the full encouragement of their husbands. That's because the women would come home not only freshly coiffed but also fully stocked with hot tips for their husbands on horses and basketball.    

 

Now 95, Martha hasn't wielded a curling iron for a while now but she's still as elegant and indomitable as she was in her prime. Last year, she downsized and sold the classic belle of a mansion she and her husband, Coach Davis, had owned on Harrodsburg's Main Street.

 

Diana, my wife, was fortunate to get some of the beautiful furniture that graced her grandmother's home. So was Furniture Consignment Gallery. Martha entrusted us to sell some of her favorite pieces, among them an Empire chest and an antique pine rope bed.     

 

Selling furniture with a story - that's what makes the consignment business so much fun. Stop by one of our showrooms today. It's Derby Day. Martha, or as we know her, Nana sends her regards.Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Ship Shape

 

 

House BoatEven on a big boat, space is tight. That makes furnishing the place a challenge, especially when you make the boat your full-time home. In fact, it is probably every bit as frustrating a puzzle as a Rubik's Cube.

 

Which explains the email I got earlier this week from a customer, whom I'll call the Captain. "Greetings, Jay," he wrote. "Get out your tape measure. Prepare to be ACCURATE - to the eighth of an inch or better. These measurements are crucial and will require eyeballs at floor level."

 

Apparently, the Captain had fallen in love with a beautiful walnut chest of drawers he'd found on our website He wanted to install it in his bedroom on the boat. The problem? The dresser was 25 inches wide - two inches wider than the aft door.

 

Living at sea, the Captain apparently has acquired a necessary ingenuity. "What is the height of the legs under the chest?" the Captain asked in his email. Perhaps, he mused, he could turn the dresser on its side and spiral it around the door frame. The legs, he warned, would have to be at least 2ΒΌ inches high to accomplish this feat.

 

Even by email, the Captain was a commanding presence. "Jay," he wrote, "remove the upper-most drawers from the dresser. Look inside and determine how the top of the dresser is attached. Is it by glue or by screw? I may be able to remove the top. Hence, it will easily clear the narrow door frame."

   

The Captain is one of my favorite customers even if he does make me feel like a bit of a swabbie. He loves fine furniture - and he really likes the bargains he finds at Furniture Consignment Gallery. He also knows he can rely on our associates to get down on the floor and get those measurements quickly and accurately - down to the sixteenth of an inch.

 

He's been shopping our website for years and we've had the honor of furnishing his sixty-foot, thirty-ton boat, which is moored in a slip in Los Angeles. Every couple of months, he finds a piece he loves and after has it shipped three thousand miles to the marina he calls home.

 

I'd like to meet the guy one of these days. I'd like a tour of his boat. Most of all, I'd like to find out how he managed to get a 25-inch wide dresser through a 23-inch wide door.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Your Choice: Landfill or Resale

 

 

IMG 5893Mysteriously, a giant pine tree fell in our yard last weekend, crushing sections of a new fence we'd installed only a year ago. We didn't hear or see anything in the night, but the backyard was a mess when we awoke on Easter Sunday.

So after church, instead of our traditional egg hunt, we got to work. Our three boys swung axes. I manned the chain saw. We cut the tree into pieces and hauled it away.

Winters are notoriously tough in New England, but spring with its driving rains and high winds can be just as hard. Mother Nature or some other malevolent force seems to take pleasure in unleashing a legion of gremlins just to test our capacity for misery.

It was a week of woe. After the tree episode, our icemaker went on strike. It was new. Thanks a lot, GE. You've ruined my much-anticipated end-of-week treat: bourbon over ice on a Friday night.

Next, our cable router died, leaving us without Internet - for three days. Ouch! The demons even followed me to work. Our trucks had so many ailments they needed a full-time mechanic.

Things break. That's just the way it goes. But I'm old enough now to realize that new things seem to break more often - and more completely - than the old ones. And most of the new things are made so shoddily they aren't worth repairing.

So beware when you hear about new furniture deals that seem too good to be true. Retailers are offering aggressive promotions this spring on furniture. Samples: "Only $5 a day" or "We'll pay your sales tax" or "If the Red Sox win the pennant, your furniture is free!"

Here's the reality. That furniture might not last any longer than the installment payments you'll be making. You'll get far better quality buying the consignment furniture in our showrooms.  

Even the quality pre-owned furniture that you buy from us today could be sold again tomorow. We have a nice Pompanoosuc Mills dining room set scheduled to arrive today that was bought from us five years ago.  Quality furniture will have resale value as long as the style stays in play. 

Feel free to disregard my advice. But I'll be happy to lend you a couple of axes and my chainsaw in a couple of years when you're hauling the cheap stuff off to the dump. 

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Dog Treats Unearthed

 

 

9752e5e2cd9f393bdaf5e18ef9ebb41eAs the massive glacier of snow and ice recedes from our lawn, a new treasure appears every day. Surprise! Here's a single ice skate that's been missing for months. Yesterday, I found the football the boys got for Christmas, along with a partially chewed pizza box, sans pizza. Roxie, our toddler boxer, is the culprit. She considers everything in our house - and our garbage - to be her personal chew toy. Our front lawn is a graveyard of well-masticated items lying, like bleached bones, in full view of the neighborhood.

 

Thanks to Mother Nature, we had no idea the full extent of our pup's destructive instincts. Snow after snow hid the evidence. Now, we're placing bets on what might appear next during the Big Melt. I am missing my grill light er. But it's not like I need it yet. I still can't find my grill under the avalanche of snow that slid off the roof.

 

We aren't the only ones cleaning up a lot of debris after a harsh winter. One of our neighbors in town discovered a deer carcass in a snow bank. At least we haven't had to bury anything at our house.

 

At work, though, I've been tempted to get out the shovel this week. We've been witnessing a curious phenomenon in our showrooms. Suddenly, people are trying to pawn off on us the stuff they've unearthed this spring from their cellars, attics or, in some cases it seems, their snow banks.

 

We're talking faded pastel art prints from the 1970s, smelly rugs, and a couple of upholstered chairs that look like they'd served as cat scratching posts for a couple of decades. We had about ten cars show up yesterday full with crapola. Thanks for thinking of us, but no.

 

Boston is finally emerging from hibernation after a brutally harsh winter. And it isn't a pretty sight out there. So if you're looking for a place to unload the flotsam and jetsam at your home, make a beeline - for the dump. We only take the best of the best at FCG.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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